Yes, John Boehner and the GOP Are Going to Use the Debt Ceiling as a Hostage

Yes, John Boehner and the GOP Are Going to Use the Debt Ceiling as a Hostage


David Drucker at the Washington Examiner reported early Friday evening that Republicans now denounce the lunacy of the idea that Boehner will pass a clean debt ceiling without demanding any concessions. Of course Republicans will be holding America’s economy hostage in order to pretend like they won elections:

Congressional Republicans on Friday issued a stern warning to President Obama: They will not approve legislation needed to raise the debt ceiling unless it includes fiscal reforms and won’t retreat from the fight if he refuses to negotiate.

House Republicans and connected GOP insiders dismiss press reports suggesting House Speaker John Boehner would offer debt ceiling legislation that didn’t include any GOP demands, like spending cuts, just to ensure that the federal government doesn’t default on its financial obligations once it hits its $16.7 trillion borrowing limit on Oct. 17.

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The “confusion” was caused by an unnamed lawmaker talking to the New York Times yesterday, but it resulted in a nice round of headlines about the reasonable Speaker not holding the debt ceiling hostage. Yesterday I warned against falling for this ruse:

To add to the chaos and drama, an unnamed lawmaker told the New York Times that Boehner “indicated he would be willing to violate the so-called Hastert rule if necessary to pass a debt limit increase.” Translation, Boehner reportedly won’t let them hold the debt ceiling hostage, but “He’s also been clear that a ‘clean’ debt hike cannot pass the House.” Can’t pass a “clean debt hike” = If Democrats give them what they want, they’ll raise the debt ceiling.

Perhaps this unaccountable “leak” is supposed to foster a narrative regarding the goodwill of Speaker Boehner. The subterfuge is deep. We all know that John Boehner does not run the House, so his promises are as meaningless as his failed attempts to pass bargains with his name on them.

The President has already said many times that he will not be negotiating whilst the GOP is holding a gun to our heads. They must put down the gun before “talks” can commence.

“If the president thinks that we are going to have a clean raising of the debt limit, he’s now living on another planet,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told the Washington Examiner. Huh. Nine months ago, he backed a clean debt ceiling limit. I guess this is what passes for Republican “values” these days.

A pause while we ponder what it means for an American political party to threaten the American economy unless they get what they want: Republicans are placing themselves on the Opposite Side of our economy. Democrats must entice them to keep them from killing our economy. Republicans must be placated and bought off, because America doing well is not a goal they share. That’s not a “get” for them. They must get something, you see — implying that America’s success is not “something” for them. Country first no more.

Remember when Speaker Boehner said a potential government shutdown would be irresponsible and costly? Again, his words are meaningless. Not only is he impotent to execute anything due to the suicide caucus, but he’s also one of those people who is always on both sides of the fence. To put it kindly, he lacks integrity. He’s hardly alone in this flaw, nor is he alone in using the press to lob warnings, appeasements, narratives, and hail Marys. All politicians do this.

But not all politicians can be dismissed equally. Some mean what they say. (See Barack Obama re: not “negotiating” over the debt ceiling while the economy is held at gunpoint.)

Yesterday’s unnamed lawmaker statement was meant to make Boehner look reasonable, while at the same time his spokesman put out a statement to reassure the Tea Party of the exact opposite scenario. The Tea Party probably fell less for it than the rest of the political world, and that’s just sad.

Government shutdown because Republicans can’t win an election? Check.

Debt ceiling being used to threaten the world economy if Republicans don’t get what they want? Check.

Republicans still think they’re “winning”? Check.

Even if Republicans pull back at the last minute, just threatening it is causing untold damage to our economy. But the takeaway here is that you can’t trust anything Republicans say, because they don’t even know what they stand for anymore.

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